HJDS Travel Group

Killer Whales of Eden

by on Aug.13, 2012, under Adventures

  • Sumo

The Orca Whales of Eden is the most remarkable story I have ever heard of regarding a working relationship between humans and Orca whales in the wild. This story is not fiction even though it sounds like it is. A simple internet search will reveal more information than I could possible write here. So briefly, the story of the Orca’s of Eden starts hundreds of years ago.

Eden is a small coastal town on the south east coast of Australia. Before the advent of white settlers it was inhabited by native people called the Yuin. Somewhere in the past these native people developed a relationship with a local Orca whale pod. The Orcas would drive large baleen whales (that were migrating north from Antarctica) into Twofold Bay and in the ensuing chase the baleen whales would often beach themselves trying to escape the Orcas. These beached whales soon became food for the Yuit people. The natives believed the Orcas were the re-incarnated spirits of dead tribal members.

The first white settler in Twofold Bay was Thomas Raines who arrived in 1828. Thomas Raines was soon followed by The Imlays Brothers who arrived in 1830. Whaling was becoming big business and the Imlays brothers started hiring native Yuin men to hunt whales for them. Soon the relationship between the native Yuin’s and the Orcas became apparent, but many white men hunting alongside the Yuins were terrified of the Orcas. They would beat the Orcas with their oars and jab at them with their lances in an attempt to drive them away. It is reported that the white whalers even threw explosive devices at the Orcas in their attempt to scare the whales into leaving. This behavior by the white whaler did drive the Orcas away to the dismay of the local Yuin natives.

Sometime in the 1840’s, it’s not exactly known when, Alexander Davidson and his son John began hunting whales from their small, bright green whaling boats in Twofold Bay. They also hired the Yuit peoples to help them but instead of fearing the Orcas they embraced them. Where whalers in the past had driven the Orcas away the Davidson family tried a different approach, something they called the “law of the tongue”. That law was simply that after a successful whale kill(with the help of the Orca whales) the Davidsons would tow the dead whale back to Twofold bay, anchor it to the bottom and go home to let the Orca whales eat. The Orcas only ate the tongue and the lips leaving the rest of the whale untouched. A few days on the bottom and the whale would float to the surface where the Davidson family would then bring it to their docks and continue with the harvest.

Soon the Orca whales of Eden were swimming up to the Davidson’s house, breaching and splashing in an attempt to get their attention. Even in the middle of the night the Orcas would wake the Davisdons because they had driven whales into the bay. It is believed that one whale in particular named”Old Tom” even towed the Davidson whale boats out to chase the whales by taking a two inch line in his mouth and pulling the whole boat and crew with him. Even though there were other whaling families in the area this special relationship with the Orcas was only between the Davidson family in their green whale boats and this small group of whales. It is reported that the Orcas even saved members of the Davidson family from being attacked by sharks when crew members fell in the water or had their boats destroyed by whales.

By 1900 the pod of Orca whales at Eden contained fifteen whales. Around this time one of the Orcas in the pod, a whale nicknamed Typee landed in shallow water and became stranded. Normally Typee would struggle and get off with a little help from an incoming tide. But a drunken white man named Harry Silks knifed Typee to death( it is stated that he was killed for his action that very day). The Orcas of Eden witnessed this murder and left the bay immediately. The following year only six of the whales returned. The relationship between Orca and whaler was never the same. Old Tom died in Twofold Bay in 1930. There is a museum dedicated to him and the other Orcas of Eden. Old Tom’s skeleton is preserved in this museum.

Check the internet for more on the fascinating story.

Would you like to learn more about Orca Whales? Would you like to view my FREE photo gallery? If so please visit me on line at Orca Whale Watching

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    Behind HJDS Travel Group Blog

    My name is Harry Delgado and I am a full time Internet and Small Business developer and marketer. Over 30 years in the Computer systems development, programming, hardware installations and support. Currently making a living from blogs like HJDS Computer Services , HJDS Investment Group and HJDS BlogBiz. You can connect with me via social media sites at Facebook - LinkedIn - Twitter - YouTube.